Media law

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The 60 Minutes employees Tara Brown and Stephen Rice arriving home from a Beirut prison. Dean Lewins/AAP

The scandal of 60 Minutes: no broadcasting standards, no investigation

When Channel Nine was implicated in an illegal ‘child recovery’ operation, many would have assumed the media regulator would investigate. Yet Australian broadcasting standards are so limited there will probably be no independent inquiry at all.
Indonesian media moguls have argued that the internet means cross-media ownership laws that prevent common ownership of radio, television and newspapers are obsolete. shutterstock

Australia can learn from Indonesia’s experience before relaxing its media laws

Indonesia’s media landscape may be a model which Australia is emulating as it looks to change media ownership laws. There are positives to this, but also causes for concern.
Joe Hockey’s successful defamation case against Fairfax Media raises questions about the extent to which politicians should be able to sue in relation to publications about their public conduct. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Hockey v Fairfax should start the debate on defamation law reform

Hockey v Fairfax illustrates that recent legal and technological developments still pose challenges for defamation law, which has not been reformed to keep pace with these changes.
Picking a fight with a media company should not be a politician’s priority. AAP/Nikki Short

Hockey’s defamation win is dark news for democracy and free speech

The elephant in the room in the just-concluded defamation case between Joe Hockey and Fairfax Media was the actual story being attacked. Media organisations ought to be able to instigate the debate without fear of reprisals by litigious politicians.
The ‘Blurred Lines’ verdict is only the most recent copyright ‘Controversy’ to erupt – just ask Prince. Mike Blake/Reuters

The messy history of music copyright suits

Like ambulance chasers, gimlet-eyed entertainment lawyers have been trained to detect the most trivial copyright infringements.
Cosby’s power cannot be overestimated. US Navy

Bill Cosby’s downfall was a display of social media power

In the awful narrative around the allegations of sexual assault and rape made against iconic American entertainer Bill Cosby, a major theme has been the perceived failure of the media to challenge him…
While Victorian opposition leader Daniel Andrews faces demands for answers from The Age, the newspaper hasn’t addressed the ethics of recording off-the-record conversations. AAP/Julian Smith

Andrews' media accusers have some explaining of their own to do

It is a sad day when senior political figures steal a journalist’s recording device and destroy its contents, as we have been told happened at this year’s Victorian Labor Party conference. But it is an…
Treasurer Joe Hockey has commenced defamation proceedings against several Fairfax newspapers over the ‘Treasurer for sale’ story. AAP/Dean Lewins

Hockey’s defamation suit shows need for wider free speech debate

Treasurer Joe Hockey’s decision to sue Fairfax Media for defamation over the now-notorious front-page story “Treasurer for sale” raises interesting questions about politicians suing to protect their reputation…
Review sites like TripAdvisor could become liable for any fake reviews they host under a new crackdown in Italy. scanna283/Flickr

Online publishers beware, Europe wants to shoot the messenger

The internet is an endless source of information. But who is liable if the information is wrong or, at least, misleading? Existing laws on publishing, information and privacy were not designed for the…
Social media users should be careful about posting nasty comments online, after a NSW teacher successfully sued a former student at her school for defaming her on Twitter. shutterstock

Teacher defamation highlights social media’s legal perils

Last November, a young man was ordered by a NSW court to pay A$105,000 in damages for defaming a teacher at his former school on Twitter. The decision, which only came to light earlier this week, should…

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